Trojans go on Tupai

Maxs Tupai doesn't know a lot about USC, but from the little he has seen and heard of the Trojans, the four-star defensive end reacted to his scholarship offer from Steve Sarkisian accordingly.

Murray (Utah) defensive end Maxs Tupai has the name and game that could confuse some USC fans.

Wearing No. 44 and playing with his long hair like it was on fire, Tupai is remittent on film of former Trojans defensive tackle Christian Tupou. But Tupai has some skills even the All- Conference Tupou didn’t have coming out of high school.

At 6-foot-3, 255-pounds, Tupai plays all over the defensive line, but also runs the ball for Murray High School. That surprising athleticism inspired USC enough to have assistant coach Marques Tuiasosopo offer him a scholarship last week.

“Where do I start,” Tupai replied. “I’ve been talking with USC for a while, but Coach Tuiasosopo called my coach and said they’re whole staff wanted to talk with me.

“So I gave them a call and spoke to all of them. I got every coach’s thoughts about me and how I play. They all thought I was really athletic and they love how many positions I play. They feel I’m agile and explosives. They also talked about how they like how hard I work.”

The four-star defensive racked up 20 sacks in the past two years and a few hundred yards of rushing yards.

“They see me playing like a rush end outside linebacker position,” said Tupai. “I don’t really care where I play, but I do like defense the most.”

Tupai isn’t exactly new to getting scholarship offers. To date, he has 14 scholarship offers, with schools like Arizona State, Wisconsin, Utah, Washington and others involved. Friday’s scholarship offer from USC had its own meaning.

“I really couldn’t explain it,” said Tupai. “I was so excited. I didn’t really know how to react.

“It was just one of those moments that you just freeze up and don’t know what to say when they offered me. I was listening to the coaches, but I was just surprised. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh.’”

Although USC has a storied tradition, specifically with Polynesian football players, Tupai knows Trojans football more as a brand than a school.

“I don’t really know much about them,” said Tupai. “I’ve been more focused on getting looks from schools like that. I don’t even know enough about USC to say what interests me in them.”

Yet, Tupai has plenty of interest in the Trojans.

“USC is one of the schools I want to visit as of now,” said Tupai. “I think my dad and my brother would like to get out there with me to see the school. I haven’t really seen many colleges.

“I’ve gone to football practices at Utah, but that was just for practice. I’ve never really toured the school or the campus.”

Florida State and Oregon are the other two schools that Tupai would still like to hear from. Although like USC, Tupai doesn’t really have an explanation for why those schools stand out.

“I’ve never really had an answer why I’d like to get offers from Oregon and Florida State,” said Tupai. “Maybe it’s just in the name. USC is on top like that too. You just hear the name and you’re like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s a good school.’”

Of course, Tupai when USC offered Tupai a scholarship, his family also had their own reaction.

“My dad and my older brother were really shocked,” said Tupai. “They were really happy for me when they heard about it.”

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